The City of Kalamazoo today announced the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) has become Michigan’s largest law enforcement agency to complete the Michigan Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (MLEAP). The voluntary accreditation program ensures police departments across Michigan operate efficiently and effectively, while using the best policing practices.
“I am pleased to announce after a lengthy, two-year process the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is the latest and largest police department to successfully complete the rigorous Michigan Law Enforcement Accreditation Program,” said KDPS Chief Karianne Thomas. “Receiving this accreditation is a testament to the department’s commitment to operating in accordance with best practices for policing and providing the best service possible to everyone who lives in or visits our community.”
KDPS becomes just the 25th — of 600 police agencies across the state — to complete the rigorous accreditation program. The MLEAP is a progressive way of helping law enforcement agencies improve their overall performances and critical decision making.
The Michigan accreditation program has identified more than 100 standards accredited agencies must meet and maintain regarding high risk, high liability areas, including use of force, vehicle pursuits, foot pursuits, and search and seizure.
In addition, MLEAP covers topics focused on improving internal and external relations such as:
- Hiring processes
- Command structure
- Handling of complaints
- Officer training
- Workplace harassment
“At KDPS, our top priority is keeping our residents, visitors and businesses safe, which is why we chose to pursue this challenging, yet rewarding accreditation,” Thomas said. “Over the last two years, we completely overhauled and modernized our policies and procedures — all with the goal of improving public safety for our residents and visitors.”
All accredited agencies must seek re-accreditation every three years. As part of the accreditation process, departments must show yearly "proofs" they are complying with their policies.
Accreditation also mandates specific training and oversight. Each year, KDPS must conduct an analysis on all employee misconduct, conduct an audit of the property/evidence room, provide performance evaluations for all employees, and complete a summary and analysis of all Use of Force Incidents, Vehicle Pursuits and Foot pursuits. Annual use of force and firearms training is also required.
Every two years officers must receive training in less lethal weapons and subject control and officers must receive training in ethics, bias influenced policing, mental health protocols and care of detainees every three years.
“The hard work and focus that made this accreditation possible will make us a better public safety department today, tomorrow and for years to come by laying a foundation to strengthen our relationships with the community we serve,” said Jim Ritsema, Kalamazoo City Manager. “I want to thank Chief Thomas, accreditation managers Assistant Chief Jeff VanderWiere (retired) and Executive Lieutenant Danielle Guilds, and the entire department for their work to complete this rigorous accreditation and their efforts to protect Kalamazoo residents each and every day.”